• Kathryn Hulland

It's too easy to misunderstand horses

I had a lovely day visiting wonderful people and their horses/ponies in the Barnstaple area today there was even a bit of sunshine about in between showers.

Two horses I saw today had such opposite energies one very soft and open yet still had anxiety the other very hard and closed off again with anxiety underneath yet both loving and friendly with their owners as they took the time to get to know them and have given them consistency.

In the wrong hands these horses would be very different, many people would not spot the small things which cover well hidden fears, they could be moved about because they are perceived as difficult which would add to their anxiety and inability to trust. Luckily the owners understand them well and they are given time and patience which is so lovely to see.

It reminded me yet again how easy it is to misunderstand horses and what ongoing damage is done resulting in the escalating behavioural issues we see time and time again.

Never forget to pay attention to your horse even the smallest movement and the pressure you put on or release at that point can have big consequences, it could be a flick of the ear, a change in the eye, a twitch .... it's not always something big to spot but if missed the reaction can become bigger!

Learn your horse and their behaviour and reactions give them time and reassurance and always remember there can be issues lurking underneath, bad memories can sit then something you do triggers them and a reaction. It's a fine balance to know when to reassure a horse or when to be more firm if they have underlying anxiety issues, building trust is the first step to overcoming them.

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